Page:Anne Bradstreet and her time.djvu/47

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ANNE BRADSTREET.

a very pregnant wit and an excellent memory. She was very ripe and perfect in all stories of the Bible, likewise in all the stories of the Martyrs, and could readily turn to them; she was also perfect and well seen in the English Chronicles, and in the descents of the King of England. She lived in holy wedlock with her husband twenty years, wanting but four days."

If the influence of the new thought was so potent with a class who in the Tudor days had made up the London mob, and whose signature, on the rare occasions when anybody wanted it, had been a mark, the middle class, including professional men, felt it infinitely more. In the early training with many, as with Milton s father, music was a passion; there was nothing illiberal or narrow. In Milton's case he writes: "My father destined me while yet a little boy to the study of humane letters; which I seized with such eagerness that from the twelth year of my age I scarcely ever went from my lessons to my bed before midnight." "To the Greek, Latin and Hebrew learned at school the scrivener advised him to add Italian and French. Nor were English letters neglected. Spencer gave the earliest turn to the boy's poetic genius. In spite of the war between playwright and precisian, a Puritan youth could still in Milton's days avow his love of the stage, 'if Jonson's learned sock be on, or sweetest Shakspeare Fancy's child, warble his native wood-notes wild and gather from the masques and antique pageantry, of the court revels, hints for his own Comus and Arcades."

Simon Bradstreet's year at Cambridge probably held much the same experience, and if a narrowing